It hadn't been a great day at work, constantly busy yet seemingly nothing to show for it at the end of the day - perhaps this should have been a portent. I had arranged to meet some friends at the Prince of Wales pub in Highgate Village for the Tuesday night pub quiz.
It's held to be one of the toughest pub quizzes going and our team of four hadn't been for a few weeks so we were out of practice too. The evening ends with a jackpot question which is financed by buying tickets. The winner of the raffle has a go at answering - if they fail there is a second draw with a new question then possibly a third. If no correct answer then it rolls over to the next week. The questions are obscure so jackpots are commonly £500 or more.
Anyway, back to the journey there by bus, the 271 on Holloway Road. Despite the message board, promising its imminent arrival, four 43s went past before it arrived and I boarded. I don't know the charitable way to describe the passenger blocking the aisle. He didn't seem drunk but was singing away to all those that wanted to listen, and those who didn't. He was leaning on a cane which was odd as there were plenty of seats. So I sat near the front and just did the British thing, I ignored him.
After a few stops, he asked the driver if the bus was going to X, I didn't catch where, but the driver told him no, he needed the Y which was due shortly. I gathered from the driver's tone that this wasn't the first time he'd asked.
So at the next stop, he dutifully got off the back door, circled the bus shelter a couple of times, and then joined the queue to get on again! He then asked the driver if the bus was going to his desired destination. This question received a rather curt response and, eventually, he got off and we were on our way again.
Which meant I arrived later than planned, still in time but the team captain was at the bar ordering food and drinks, so I added my request, they serve good Thai cuisine, and sat down. It became apparent that the barman, who looked about fourteen, was struggling somewhat with the order, which wasn't that complicated as there were only four of us and the menu is not extensive.
However, it was soon sorted, or so we thought, and we prepared for the first round. Just as it was starting the food began to arrive and there seemed to be a lot of it, an awful lot of it, and slowly it dawned on us. When writing the order down the captain had helpfully included the number shown on the menu, e.g. 4 - spare ribs. In hindsight, he should have made it clearer and explained it better, but the barman had taken that to mean four portions of ribs.
After the fifth plate of squid appeared and the table was covered in dishes it was decided to halt the flow of food and consolidate. This all took a while and then the manager organised a refund, I think the team came out ahead as some food was not returned. This reduced the bill by about thirty-five pounds though, another reason the captain might have wondered if the order was correct.
All this kerfuffle meant we missed the main question reading and is our excuse for a pathetic score that round.
We were trailing for some time, managing to climb up somewhat after a good last round.
So how about the £500 jackpot question - fancy your chances? It was one of the easier ones but still no cake walk.
The three highest capitals in the world are all in South America, the fourth is in Africa, what is it?
And my personal highlight that impressed the team?
What figure of speech do the following phrases exemplify?
That's a nice set of wheels!
How much bread did that cost?
All hands on deck!
Our team was one of the few to get the correct answer - synecdoche - commonly the use of a part of something for the whole or vice versa, but can be other things as shown by bread for money.
And the highest capital city in Africa - Addis Ababa - the capital of Ethiopia - if you got it right consider coming next Tuesday.